Wildlife photographers had flocked to the town of Hilversum in the Netherlands after hearing that a large Eurasian eagle-owl, usually only spotted in remote forests, had been seen on the roof of a house near some playing fields.
Chris Meewis caught on camera the hilarious moment when the bird lover found himself the centre of attention as one of the largest species of owl chose his head as a perch.
Father-of-two Chris, 59, said: ‘We were all there waiting to see if we could spot this owl and photographers had come from all over to see it as it is a really magnificent bird.
‘It was supposed to be living on the roof of this house near some playing fields and everyone had set up their cameras but were yet to spot it. Suddenly out of nowhere this huge shape appeared and landed on one of the photographer’s heads.
‘It was so funny as all of the cameras suddenly turned on him. There he was thinking he was the one taking the picture and suddenly he finds himself the centre of one! Everyone was laughing but he was in complete shock and just stood there very still.’
The owl stayed on the unnamed photographer’s head for around 10-15 seconds, flapped its wings a few times and repositioned its talons, before flying off towards the trees.
Mr Meewis, who works at a garden centre, said: ‘The eagle-owl really was huge and had huge talons so it must have hurt the man’s head quite a lot and been very heavy to have standing up there like that.
‘Once the owl flew off the man was checking his head to see if it was bleeding and he looked surprised when he found it wasn’t – he just had a few light scratches. He was very lucky as the owl had some very big claws indeed.’
Mr Meewis had not taken his usual camera that he uses for photographing wildlife and only had his Fuji Compact with him so was pleased with the results.